- Associated Press - Friday, October 13, 2017

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The competition to be Louisiana’s state treasurer has headed into its final hours, with candidates trying to find ways to attract voters who have shown little interest ahead of Saturday’s election day.

Polls open at 7 a.m. Saturday and close at 8 p.m.

Four major candidates are vying to be Louisiana’s chief investment banker. No one is expected to top the 50 percent mark, sending the race to a Nov. 18 runoff among the top two vote-getters.

New Orleans area lawyer Derrick Edwards has done little fundraising but is expected to reach the runoff as the only Democrat. The top three GOP contenders are former state budget administrator Angele Davis, state Sen. Neil Riser and ex-state Rep. John Schroder.

They’ve been running on messages that have little to do with the ministerial job they’re seeking. They’ve tried an array of talking points to try to draw people to the polls on a day where turnout is expected to be dismal, amid college football competitions, outdoor activities, warm weather and the lack of a high-profile race in most areas.

Secretary of State Tom Schedler predicts turnout may not reach 15 percent.

“I have indicated that I’ll happily eat crow if Louisiana’s voters prove me wrong, and I hope they do,” he said in a statement.

Beyond the treasurer’s race, also on the ballot are three statewide constitutional changes; competition to fill a vacant position on Louisiana’s utility regulatory board, the Public Service Commission; and municipal races, such as to choose New Orleans‘ next mayor.

Detailed ballot information is available on the Secretary of State’s website .

The treasurer’s race has gotten more attack-laden in the last days of the campaign.

Riser posted an online video questioning Schroder’s conservative credentials, noting that the former House member voted for a legislative pay raise and a temporary sales tax increase, two bills Riser opposed.

“It’s easy to talk like a conservative, to give hard-nosed speeches and grandstand in committee,” the video’s narrator says as images of Schroder appear. “But at the end of the day, actions speak louder than words.”

Schroder’s been the heaviest spender on TV ads, according to the campaign finance reports, with a current spot that shows dancing men and women in suits throwing “taxpayer money” around and filling their pockets at a party venue. The ad suggests Schroder will curb misspending.

Schroder announces as the spot wraps up: “The party’s over.”

Davis has touted her support for President Donald Trump, while her campaign also has been sending out mailers promoting her Democratic opponent. The strategy seems aimed at boosting Edwards’ performance in heavily Democratic New Orleans, where Riser has tried to make inroads by sending money to area community organizations that do voter outreach and distribute sample ballots. Schroder also has done similar, though less, of that spending.

The treasurer’s seat is vacant because Republican John Kennedy was elected to the U.S. Senate. Kennedy’s top aide, Ron Henson, is working as interim treasurer until someone is elected to the job.


Follow Melinda Deslatte on Twitter at https://twitter.com/melindadeslatte

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